So far, the sports-radio buzz on manager Joe Torre's new book, "The Yankee Years," has been all about slugger Alex Rodriguez and how some teammates rechristened him "A-Fraud." But it's actually one of the few serious revelations in the 500-page book. The real shock is that Torre, so circumspect through his decade-plus in the Bronx, has publicly criticized his former team at all. Even more surprising is how he did it: co-written with Tom Verducci, the book is a third-person narrative that, while quoting Torre liberally, offers many opinions not attributed directly to him. The format has opened up Torre to criticism that he was able to land punches without appearing to throw any himself. Does he stand by everything that was written? "I've got to," Torre said during an interview with NEWSWEEK's Mark Starr. "My name is on the book." Other highlights:
On the Red Sox rivalry: "I love the city [of Boston]. I love the people. I always kid Sox fans: 'When you go through the turnstile, what happens to you?' The rivalry wears you out. Every single game becomes crazy. [Red Sox manager] Terry Francona and I would talk to each other after each series and we'd say, 'Boy, am I glad that's over—for five or six weeks'."
On steroid use by Yankee players: "I never saw evidence of anything. I saw home runs go way over the fence, so there were questions you always ask. I guess I didn't want to believe more than not believing. Without concrete evidence, it was tough for me to go and question somebody. I had a job to do, to put a ball club on the field, and the last thing I wanted to do was to throw a monkey wrench. Whether I wasn't strong enough or too naïve, I just wanted to stay out of somebody else's business."
On working for " The Boss " : "When it came down to George [Steinbrenner] and myself, there was a lot of heart and a lot of soul there. Despite all the stuff that went on—yeah, he'd get angry—you understood that if you're going to take this job, that goes with it. You can't pick and choose which piece of him you want to keep.
On leaving the Yankees: "Unfortunately, the bottom line is what it's all about—that's the way things are done in New York. I may have become overly sensitive about it, but when you shake it all out and look at it from the outside, that's pretty much where you lived as a member of the Yankees—you always lived on the edge.
On Alex Rodriguez: "When Alex came, he was used to being No. 1, and with good reason, because he's always the most talented one around. I talked to Alex about just being one of the guys. He had trouble making that adjustment. He wanted to be—I don't want to say the most important guy—but the one who was counted on. He gets in his own way a lot. When he makes an out, he makes it seem later like it was no big deal. But you know he's churning inside. [He's] got to get beyond that and not be so concerned with failing.